As we reported this morning, Majority PAC is dropping over $7 million on an ad campaign in 7 Senate races. While most of the ads are pretty standard attacks on the GOP candidates, one spot stands out: The ad targeting George Allen, a brutal spot that dives into the issue of stem cell research.
The anti-Allen spot features three different people talking about Allen's opposition to stem cell research, and health conditions that could be helped by such research. "This is George Allen," they say. "He's running for Senate. He voted against embryonic stem cell research. Is he a doctor? Is he a scientist? Why would Mr. Allen bet my life that he knows best?"
"How come he gets to decide who lives and who dies?" asks one, a young girl, at the end of the ad.
The attack on opposition to stem cell research is one we've seen in House races recently, but not in Senate races. House Majority PAC released the same spot in a House race today as well, targeting Republican Adam Hasner in Florida's 22nd District.
Here's our House Race Hotline spotlight
from October 23, which analyzed the House Majority PAC ads hitting on the issue of stem cell research:
Amidst the barrage of TV ads on the economy, taxes, Medicare, and a few other hot-button issues, a new campaign by House Majority PAC has focused expensive 60-second chunks of airtime on a less central issue: stem cell research. The Dem group hopes the unusual spots cut through the economic messages and convince voters in several CDs that GOP candidates are too extreme.
-- HMP is targeting four GOP candidates with jarring stem cell ads: Reps. Dan Lungren (CA-07), Mike Coffman (CO-06), and Allen West (FL-18), as well as Tony Strickland in open CA-26. The four CDs have similar makeup, though CA-26 is more Dem-leaning the other three. HMP hopes the ad can make the biggest difference there, though it also has a big role to play in the other three.
-- First of all, the long spots catch the eye. More importantly, even though stem cell research isn't an issue most people are prioritizing this election, it is broadly popular. Used in combination with other hits, like Coffman supporting CO's personhood amendment or some of West's intemperate comments, HMP thinks stem cells can be a leg in the stool they're trying to build for these GOPers: that they're too extreme for their CDs.
-- The question is whether the ads can break through. Far more voters see economic issues as the most important one this election, making it more likely those issues will move their votes. That's one reason HMP's ads are so starkly composed.
Later this week we'll highlight some eye-catching trends in GOP ads, which have mostly focused on the economy. These don't, which is one of the reasons House Maj. PAC likes them so much.